Making Bacon

The unusually named “Pig Breeders’ Round Table” (PBRT) was held at the University of Kent in April 2015 bringing together industrialists, scientists, students and farmers in a unique setting.

Despite the images that the title of this forum might conjure up, PBRT is a long standing, high quality scientific meeting that has built up an enviable reputation as one of the best international conferences in livestock genetics. Established as an influential industry and research discussion group in 1964, PBRT regularly discusses pig breeding, embryo technology, new genes affecting meat quality, infertility and the latest in modern genomics.

PBRT has, from its outset, been a small, friendly bi-annual meeting with interesting science and stimulating discussion. For the first 40+ years of its life finding a home at Wye College, it moved “up the road” in 2008 to the University of Kent under the chairmanship of Darren Griffin. This year’s programme included gems such as “Testicle size in relation to male fertility”; “Genomics of teat number”; “The genetics of maternal aggression” and the, now traditional, “Pig genome sequence update” delivered by Professor Alan Archibald of the Roslin Institute

The meeting provided an excellent opportunity to present and discuss new results with an informed and interested audience and University of Kent members, past and present were well represented. These included Dr Peter Ellis (new lecturer in the School of Biosciences), Dr Ben Skinner (Kent PhD 2009, now at the University of Cambridge) and Dr Katie Fowler (Kent PhD 2012, now lecturer at Canterbury Christchurch University).

Delegates from the UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Italy and Canada (amongst others) were well treated by the Kent Hospitality staff in Keynes College and completed proceedings at the Hotel Continental in Whitstable for Oysters and Fish and Chips (anything but pork!) and one of the best sunsets that the Kent coast had to offer.